1917 Applesauce Cake

No eggs? No problem! This simple yet flavorful cake is the definition of conservation. Developed by Mary Swartz Rose in her book Everyday Foods in War Time, this recipe was meant to encourage American housewives to conserve ingredients (flour, sugar, eggs, etc.) so they could be diverted to the men fighting during World War I. Despite the simple ingredients, flavor comes through. Warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves fill your kitchen with such a delicious aroma. The pockets of raisin provide a touch of sweetness to compliment the apple flavor. Enjoy a piece warm for the full experience!

This cake was inspired by Kathryn Atwood’s Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics. One of my favorite topics to read about is women in history. Specifically, women facing adversity in history. The expectations for women in the early 1900s didn’t extend far beyond the home. When the Great War took hold of nations across the world, many women felt called to help in any way that they could. Some of these women weren’t satisfied with the roles deemed suitable for women and felt they could contribute as much as the men that went off to fight on the front.

The names of these women are not very well known or have been mostly forgotten outside of their close circles. Despite the adversity they faced (at home and at war), these women provided so much to the war effort as spies, soldiers, and medics. Women such as Edith Cavell had pivotal moments in the war that had lasting effects. Her execution by German firing squad for her efforts in helping Allied soldiers escape German-occupied Belgium sparked outrage throughout the world, prompting German officials to change tactics when dealing with female spies. Edith Cavell was executed early in the war, but her story did not deter women from continuing to join the fight.

I have so much admiration for the strength and determination these women possessed. I cannot begin to fully imagine how I would have responded to the world going to war. From crossing the Atlantic knowing an enemy torpedo had sunk a ship carrying civilians to joining the male soldiers in the trenches, these women have my admiration for defying the odds so they could serve their nations. A woman’s independence cannot be ignored – her desire to rise up will bring down any barrier before her.

Recipe for 1917 Applesauce Cake from American Cake by Anne Byrn

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